Description - J.A. Skinner State Park is more than 400 acres of forest on Mount Holyoke, at the western end of the Holyoke Range. It offers breathtaking views of the Connecticut River Valley. The summit is accessible by road and by hiking trails year-round. The auto road to the summit of historic Mount Holyoke at Skinner State Park is currently open from 8am - 6pm daily. It will remain open daily from 8am – 4pm beginning Sunday, September 19, through Saturday, October 16. The auto road and Summit House restrooms will be closed beginning Sunday, October 17, 2010. The road will reopen in mid April, weather and staffing permitting. Walkers are welcome year round.
- The Summit House, a popular mountaintop hotel in the 1800s, is open for tours and programs on weekends and holidays from Memorial Day through Columbus Day, offering historical displays and special events. The park is named after Joseph Allen Skinner, a wealthy businessman who donated the hotel and land to the state in 1940. There are 20 picnic sites on the grounds, many with fine views and charcoal grills. Restrooms are available May through mid-October. Hawk watching is popular in spring and fall. Paths from the Summit House connect with marked trails that traverse the Holyoke Range. Fall foliage viewing is popular in the park, and the masses of flowering mountain laurel present a lovely spectacle in June. The park's Friends group offers hikes throughout the year and hosts a sunset concert series inside the Summit House each summer.
Recreation - Visitors to J.A. Skinner State Park can enjoy hiking, picnicking, scenic viewing, walking trails and a visitors center. There are 40 miles of trails some of which are multi-use.
Climate - Massachusetts experiences four distinct seasons with slightly varying temperatures in the inland and coastal regions. Along the coast the water is a moderating factor that often prevents large amounts of snowfall from accumulating through the winter. Summer temperatures are usually cooler than low lying inland areas, due to ocean breezes. This region of the country experiences high humidity in the summer season and temperatures that average close to 80 degrees F. Fall and Spring are pleasant times to visit the region with crisp air and low humidity. Brilliant foliage colors can be found in the central and western regions of the state in late September and October. Winter temperatures can be brutally cold on occasion with a humidity-filled wind, but on average winter daytime temperatures reach 35 degrees F and lows reach into the teens. Spring is usually the wettest time of year, but trees, bushes and flowers are blooming by early May.
The park is located in the central Ct River Valley. From the west:
1. Head east on I-90
2. Take exit 4 for I-91 toward Holyoke/Springfield - 0.6 mi
3. Keep left at the fork, follow signs for I-91 and merge onto I-91 N - 13.8 mi
4. Take exit 19 to merge onto Bridge St/MA-9East - Continue to follow MA-9East - 0.8 mi
5. Turn right at Old Bay Rd - 0.2 mi
6. Continue on Bay/Hockunum Rd. /MA-47S - Continue to follow MA-47S - 4.7 mi
7. Turn left at Mtn. Rd - 0.4 mi
8. Take the 1st left onto Skinner State Park Rd. Park will be on the left – 400 ft